To read the travel brochures about Hangzhou, you would think that it is a quiet water town that somehow has escaped the onslaught of the modern world.

Um, yeah.

Hangzhou is “small water town” of about 9 million people.

There is lots to do in and around Hangzhou, but I pretty much just stuck to West Lake, where the authors of the travel brochures were most likely referring to.  It actually is quiet and seemingly removed from the encroachment of the modern world.  Not totally, but enough to enforce the point.  I hadn’t really realized how loud Shanghai is until I got to West Lake, specifically when I was in the Shrine to the Qian (Tchee-an) Kings.  Even though I could still hear horns honking from the traffic, the birds in the courtyard were louder.  I sat on a concrete step and stayed there, listening to the birds, until I was uncomfortable for sitting on a concrete step…

As I looked through my pictures, I did take quite a few of Leifeng (lay-fung) Pagoda.  Kind of hard not to, because it is a prominent point of presence on the lake.  The tower that stands there today is not the original.  The original was burned by Japanese pirates about 800 years ago, but only the wood elements burned leaving the brick structure behind.  Believing the bricks to have healing powers, the locals helped the tower disappear brick by brick until it crumbled in 1924.  The tower you see today was built over the top of the ruins of the old one.  On entering the structure, you can see those ruins and people offer gifts by tossing them over the glass wall.

The weather for this trip was about the best I’ve had since I got here.  Upper 70’s, slight breeze and the sun was out all day.  The lake has about a 16k circumference (~10 miles) and I pretty much walked the whole thing.  There is an island in the middle that you can take boat out to and then from there you can embark to other portions of the lake.  Instead of short-cutting the tour, after walking the island I caught a boat back to where I started.

I have noticed that the numbers of people that ask me to take a picture with them is directly proportional to how many people I’m with.  I’m approached the most when I’m by myself.  Which is one reason why I demand to have a picture taken with my camera, too, because if I didn’t nobody in the States would believe me that it ever happens.  Well, on this particular day…  Hmmm.  I think this is a day better told with pictures.  Click on the first one to start the carousel – narrative with the pictures…